Doping cases published under strict rules
China detected 18 doping cases across 10 disciplines in 2003 and four athletes have so far returned positive results this year, according to the Chinese Olympic Committee's Anti-doping Commission.
It is the first time that the commission has released a list of athletes who have failed drug tests.
It comes in the wake of March's implementation of an anti-doping regulation, which illustrates the Chinese Government's strong determination to stamp out doping.
"China had conducted 1,366 urine tests and 79 blood tests up until May 10 this year, with four tests turning out positive," said Shi Kangcheng, director of the anti-doping commission. But he did not identify the four athletes, who are still being investigated.
According to Shi, 16 athletes from nine different sports -- in addition to two race horses -- failed doping checks last year.
There were five positive swabs from track and field athletes, three from weightlifters and two from canoeists, with the remainder split evenly between cycling, football, lifesaving, ski jumping, swimming and wrestling.
Female swimmer Li Ning was suspended for two years with her coach, Liu Guangtan, banned for life after the swimmer tested positive for testosterone during an out-of-competition test on November 17 last year.
It was the first doping case in Chinese swimming in two years.
Five days after Li muddied the reputation of Chinese swimmers, Beijing Hyundai defender Zhang Shuai became the first Chinese footballer to flunk a doping test. Traces of ephedrine in Zhang's sample brought him a six-month ban.
Three track and field athletes including Zheng Yongji and Li Huiquan, who both took EPO, received three-year bans -- the heaviest penalties meted out by the Chinese Olympic Committee.
EPO boosts endurance by stimulating the production of red blood cells.
Discus thrower Dai Wenbing was also banned for three years for taking the muscle-building drug metenolone.
China has always attempted to keep up with cutting-edge anti-doping technologies.
The new anti-doping regulation, which was promulgated by the State Council on February 3, contains 47 articles in six chapters that detail penalties for offenses.
According to Li Furong, vice-minister of China's State General Administration of Sports and director of the anti-doping committee, the regulation has put China among the small number of countries which have published anti-doping rules on behalf of the government.
In addition, after being established in 1990, China's drug testing lab has passed the International Olympic Committee's level-A examination for 15 successive years.
In April, the nation's anti-doping committee was also awarded the ISO 9001:2000 Certificate for its doping control system.
After it was bestowed, Shi said: "The certificate shows that China's doping management is certified in compliance with international standards, together with its doping testing system."